Skilled Vancouver, WA Personal Injury Lawyers
After you’ve experienced a serious car accident in Vancouver, WA it can be difficult to know where to go from here. You have injuries, financial burdens, and many questions. Our Vancouver personal injury lawyers Paula, Dave, Matt, Scott and Dean have worked with many clients in our community, and we’re here to help you too. First, we want to provide some information that can assist you with your initial questions. Then, we want you to contact us for further help while navigating your recovery process.
Common Errors Made by Personal Injury Victims
As a personal injury victim, there are a thousand ways that you can inadvertently damage or even destroy your claim, especially if you are not represented by a lawyer. The following are only a few of them:
Talking about your case with an insurance company representative
Insurance company adjusters work toward only one goal: to save as much money for their employer as possible. Remember, the insurance company will be trying to prove that your claim is invalid, or that it is not worth as much as you say it is. Don’t ever forget this, and direct any insurance company representative to your lawyer without answering any of their questions.
Posting about your case on social media
Facebook, Twitter and the like have been the doom of many personal injury claims. If your account is open to the public, you can bet that the insurance company will be monitoring it. Even if it is set to private, there may be a way for an insurance company to access information about you. Suppose, for example, that you are tagged in a photo that appears on a friend’s website with you smiling for the camera. If the photo was taken recently, it could be used as evidence that your injuries are not serious.
Failing to properly document your injuries
Take photographs of your injuries (or have someone else do it), and keep a journal where you record the extent to which your injuries are causing you physical pain and suffering. You might consider taking a video to demonstrate the extent of your physical impairment. You will also need to document any damage to your vehicle if your injuries were caused by a vehicle accident.
Signing away your rights
One thing you never want to do is to sign any document giving the insurance company an unlimited right to inspect your medical history. In fact, you should never sign anything related to your case unless your lawyer authorizes it first. It is best to treat the insurance company like the adversary that it is.
Ignoring your doctor’s advice
Washington allows the damages of a personal injury victim to be reduced to the extent that the victim’s condition was his own fault. If you ignore your doctor’s advice, that could be used against you to justify lowering your damages. Go to all appointments and save all pill bottles, prescriptions, and any medical equipment such as braces.
Renewing your hunting/fishing/commercial driving license while your case is pending
The status of these licenses is all public information, accessible to the insurance company. If you renew such a license while claiming to be too injured to participate in that activity, the insurance company could use it against you regardless of your actual motivations.
Vancouver’s First Responders Are Responsible for Minimizing Damage
If you’ve been an unfortunate party to an accident, the Vancouver Police Department probably appeared at the scene first – if the incident occurred within city limits. Their job is essential in reducing confusion and documenting a traffic collision report. To request a copy of your collision report, click here. If your accident took place outside city limits but within our county, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department is usually first to respond with aid.
If you were involved in an accident on the interstates running through Vancouver, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) probably handled the first reports. The WSP also holds all police traffic collision reports in our state.
Emergency Services Handle Immediate Care
If you’ve been injured in your accident, the Vancouver Fire Department and Vancouver Emergency Medical Services are generally the first to aid injured victims. These are the first services to provide victims with immediate, and often life-saving, care.
Healthcare Providers in Vancouver Assist with Post-Accident Injuries
Victims with injuries that follow from car accidents in the Vancouver area are likely to be treated at either Vancouver PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center or Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. As you recuperate, it’s important to remember that you have rights and may even be entitled to compensation from the accident damages and your physical suffering.
Vancouver’s Emotional Support Services
When a loved one passes away in a car accident or you suffer injuries of any kind, it’s often necessary to seek out emotional support from professionals. While there’s no going back in time, with support, you can face the future with more resilience when surrounded by guidance. For grieving families, working with a grief support organization or therapist can make all the difference. Start here to learn more about grief support available in Vancouver.
The Court Systems in Vancouver Assist Victims with Legal Aspects
Minor legal matters, such as traffic citations or civil suits with small monetary amounts, are commonly handled by the Clark County District Court. For larger cases, usually involving felonies or civil cases with more money on the table, the Clark County Superior Court will likely get involved. Our highly skilled and established Vancouver personal injury lawyers are very familiar with these court systems.
For Vancouver Residents on Less Than Four Wheels…
In Vancouver and virtually everywhere, bicyclists and motorcyclists experience higher risk of injury when on the roadways. Even so, it’s always important to stay safe and smart while traveling Washington’s roads. If you bike or motorcycle in our region, have a look at both WA Bikes and the Washington State Department of Licensing Motorcycle Safety Program.
Washington State Department of Transportation: Your Best Road Resource
When traveling in and around Vancouver, the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) is considered the gold standard for providing traffic and weather information that can help our state’s drivers. For a second source of fast and reliable driver information, consult the Washington State 511 phone system regarding weather, travel conditions, road construction, and more.
The Insurance Claims Process
While each accident case is different, usually everyone involved has to deal with an insurance claim at some point. Luckily, the Washington State Insurance Commissioner works to protect insurance consumers in Vancouver. Depending on the severity of your accident, you may be able to work directly with an insurance adjuster if the accident was minor. Still, you will want to seek out professional legal help when dealing with insurance companies in this capacity.
Drunk-Driving Accidents: an Unfortunate Reality
In Vancouver, drunk driving is a serious problem as it is in all parts of the state and country. Everyday, we hear about heart-breaking drunk driving and drugged driving cases. For this reason, we respect the work that organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are doing to prevent these needless accidents. If you’d also like to support their efforts, check out their website here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Your Vancouver Accident
When I Share Information with You, Is It Kept Confidential?
Yes, it always is. As attorneys of the Vancouver area, we are prohibited by law – and by our own professional ethics – from violating attorney-client privilege. This means that as trusted and respected Vancouver personal injury attorneys, we will never share anything that you tell us in confidence without your consent.
What Is Washington State's Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file a lawsuit over your claim or be forever barred from recovery. In Washington, the deadline for personal injury or medical malpractice is three years after the date of the injury. For wrongful death claims, it is three years after the date of the victim’s death. These are strict deadlines; very few exceptions exist. If you have questions about the impact of the statute of limitations on your case, contact our experienced Vancouver injury lawyers today.
To Win My Car Accident Case, What Will I Need?
You will need several things, including but not limited to:
- A copy of the police report and your medical treatment records,
- Contact details of everyone involved in the accident,
- Insurance details of the defendant, and
- Contact details of any witnesses.
You may also need other supporting evidence, such as photographs of the scene of the accident, for example.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for a Car Accident?
Under Washington’s “pure comparative fault” structure, even if you’re partially at fault, you will not be completely barred from recovering for your damages in the accident (as long as the other party was also at fault). In this case, the percentage of your fault will be deducted from your damages.
Can I Settle out of Court?
Yes, you can! Actually, about 90 percent of all personal injury claims are resolved out-of-court. And, in most cases, it’s a good idea to consider this option. But going with this route doesn’t necessarily avoid filing a lawsuit completely. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit is recommended to push the other party into offering a fair settlement. Either way the highly experienced Vancouver personal injury lawyers at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help you through this time.
Not Sure If You Can Handle Your Case on Your Own?
Contact Our Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyers Today
After a car accident, you don’t want to be stuck carrying the burden of handling paperwork, financial issues, and insurance intimidation tactics while you physically and emotionally recover. Our proven Vancouver personal injury attorneys know exactly what you are experiencing right now, and we want to help in any way we can. Contact us today and tell us about your case, so you don’t have to deal with this process alone.